The NumbersU. Dayton BasketballStat Matt Cuts Up the Dayton Flyers

The BR pays Stat Matt an additional consulting fee to explain the inner-workings of UD
Matt Rhein6 months ago46 min

Every Flyer fan is surely aware of the wonderfully efficient statistics Dayton has had on offense this season. It is strange times when your Dayton Flyers are getting a solid 90 seconds, including custom imagining on the 11:00 PM Sportscenter with Scott Van Pelt. Yet the great performances so far have garnered national attention. With that, Flyers fans who might not normally be referencing KenPom, Sagarin, and NET rankings are reciting UD’s metrics with certainty these days.

With that, I know that you, the educated readers of the Blackburn Review, are aware that the Flyers have the highest effective field goal percentage of any Division 1 side at 59.7%. You also likely know they have been the leader in 2-point % for some time now and currently sit 62.2%. You, wise and smart reader, might even know that as of this writing, UD has the NUMBER ONE rated offense in KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency at 116.2 points per 100 possessions. What if I told you that there is another offensive stat that Dayton tops the country in that helps describe much of the success that these Dayton Flyers have found scoring the basketball?

Per Synergy Sports Tech, the 2019-20 Dayton Flyers are first among all Division 1 teams in points per possession for cut play types. So far this season, the Flyers are averaging 1.492 points per possession on these plays. They are among some lofty company with Kansas, LSU, Florida, Michigan State, Seton Hall, fellow undefeated in conference play A10 team Duquesne and Butler in the top 25 of points per possession on cuts in D1 this season. These plays include backdoor cuts, dump offs, flex cuts, flash cuts and more. This season, Synergy has categorized that the Flyers have ran these 122 times and the 1.492 points per possession make it the most efficient of the play types for the Flyers that Synergy tracks.

On the podcast before the VCU game, the boys and tolerable VCU guest Matt Sheldon-Eide were discussing just what a chore it was for teams to defend an Obi Toppin-Ryan Mikesell pick and roll. Most players defending the four and five positions on the court are in a tough position guarding either of these players. We all have seen the jaw-dropping Obi highlights, but opposition must also respect his jump shooting as he is shooting a respectable 33.3% from three. Chip might not have the same Top 10 worthy highlights (though that dunk at La Salle <3), but is putting out a nationally ranked 60.2% true shooting percentage and a 124.0 offensive rating. In short, both can score a multitude of ways and can handle the ball well. Defenders when faced with a Obi-Chip P&R have to pick their poison and often it leads to a basket no matter which choice the defender makes.

With that being said, it is no surprise that Obi and Chip are averaging the highest points per possession among Dayton players this season on cut plays. Obi’s 1.659 points per possession ranks him 25th in the entire country while Chip’s 1.526 has him tied for 89th. Obi has hit 30 of 37 field goals attempted on these possessions while Chip has scored of 11 of 16. It is no surprise that a majority of these cuts plays for both players have them cutting to the basket, with both players having at least 68% of these cut possessions heading to the rim. Given both are two of the most ferocious dunkers in the country (OK, I might be exaggerating that for one of them) and Obi is averaging 1.67 points per shot at the rim and Chip is averaging 1.45, it is definitely in Dayton’s best interest to get both of them cutting to the rim.

In the clip above created by Jordan Sperber, who does the incredible Hoop Vision newsletter and podcast, we see the tough decisions screens and cuts from Dayton put opposition in. Chip sets a screen on Jalen’s man guarding him while he is in-bounding the ball. The inbound pass goes to Obi who then gives the ball back to Jalen with a dribble hand-off and then cuts to the basket. The Saint Mary’s defenders have to contend with either Chip heading to the three point line, Jalen slashing to the basket with the ball, and Obi Fucking Toppin cutting to the rim. To say this is a compromising position for defenders would be an understatement, and the Saint Mary’s player understandably fouls Obi on the lob. The only issue is of course that, as previously mentioned, it’s Obi Fucking Toppin and he makes the incredible finish anyways.

Obi and Chip have been the most efficient among the Flyers in these cut plays this season, but it is a strength for the entire team this year. Trey Landers has featured in 34 of these possessions and has scored on average 1.176 points per possession on these shots. Trey, Obi and Chip are the only Flyers who have featured in at least 10 of these cut possessions, but every other Flyer this season is averaging at least 1 point per possession in smaller samples. While the pure athleticism of Obi and the well-rounded, experienced play of Chip and Trey makes things easier, credit must go to Anthony Grant for getting these players the opportunities on the court. National media guys like Jordan Sperber above have commented a few times on some of the creative sets AG is running with Dayton. With the combination of creative play calling and dangerous scorers that the Flyers have had this season, there’s no reason to think the efficient scoring will stop.

Wear Red, be LOWD.

Matt Rhein

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